The closely held corporation, based in the Minneapolis suburb of Minnetonka, said in a statement on its website its board of directors had elected Nelson to the top leadership post. Nelson, who has served on the board for nearly a decade, will take over from her mother, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, in May, the company said.
"I am reverent about this role and see it as a significant responsibility," she said. "As leadership of the company passes to the third generation, I'm honored to continue the legacy started by my grandfather."
Her mother called her "exceptionally qualified" to take over.
Trudy Rautio, president and chief executive officer, said it "will be a seamless passing of the baton from Marilyn to Diana."
Curt Carlson used a $55 loan in 1938 to start the Gold Bond Stamp Co. and parlayed into a multibillion-dollar operation that includes Radisson Hotels, Country Inns & Suites, T.G.I. Friday's and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.
He turned the reins over to his daughter in 1998, the year before he died.